GRIP'S HISTORICAL SOUVENIR
PAGES 38 - 45
Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.
American Wars. - King Phillip's, 1675; King William's, 1689; Dutch, 1693; Queen Anne's,
1744; French and Indian, 1755; Revolution, April 1775 (Lexington fight) to Jan. 20, 1883 (treaty
at Paris) 368,410 men in service; Northwest Indian wars, Sept. 19, 1790, extending five years, 8,983 men;
French war, July 9, 1798, lasting two years, 4,593 men; Tripoli, June 10, 1801, 4 years, 3,320 men; Creek
Indian, July 27, 1813, 1 year, 13,781 men; Great Britain, June 18, 1812, 2 years, 8 months, 576,622 men;
Seminole Indian, Nov. 20, 1817, 1 year, 7,911 men; Black Hawk Indian, April 20, 1831, 1 year 6 months, 6,465 men;
Cherokee Indian, May 5, 1836, 1 year, 9,494 men; Creek Indian, May 5, 1836, 1 year, 5 months, 13, 418 men; Florida
Indian, Dec. 23, 1835, 8 years, 41,122 men; Aroostook Indian, 1838, 1 year, 1,500 men; Mexican, April 14, 1846,
2 years, 3 months, 101,282 men; Apache, Navajo and Utah Indian, 1849, 6 years, 2,501 men; Seminole Indian, 1856,
2 years, 2,687 men; Civil war, April 12, 1861, 4 years, 2,772,408 men - about 800,000 confederate troops.
Dr. Timothy S. Fish was a distinguished and successful practicing physician during a
period of twenty-five years and at the same time was engaged in the drug trade. Having
partners to look after the store, he was able to give his whole time to his practice. It
was a profession of love as well as pride with him, for he enjoyed doing good. He was a
man of strong convictions processing energy and enterprise; a Christian with a broad,
liberal view of life, closely attached to his family and loyal to his friends. Public
spirited he took a deep interest in the advancement of the community. In March, 1889, he
was elected a trustee of the village and held the office until March, 1893. He was
physician for the Board of Health. Elected trustee of Leavenworth Institute August 3,
1898, he served faithfully and with ability the cause of public education in which he was
interested until his death. He was a member of the Methodist church and president of the
Board of Trustees at his death. He was a member of the Masonic order, the G. A. R., and
was post surgeon, and served as examining surgeon for the Maccabees.
Dr. Fish was born in
the town of Williamson Sept. 10, 1849. Brought up on a farm in childhood he was still a
youth when he left home, enlisting in the armies that battled for the Union when fifteen
years old, Aug. 31, 1864. That he was under age attracted attention of the officers who
gave him an honorable discharge from the service Nov. 19, 1864, with a surgeon's
certificate of disability based on his age. On his return home he re-entered school and
was graduated at the Marion Collegiate Institute June 29, 1870. Then he began the study
of medicine for which he proved so well fitted and on May 5, 1873, was graduated at the
Detroit College of Medicine. That same year he came to Wolcott and engaged in the drug
business on Mill street in the firm of Fish & Munn. The latter sold out to E. J. Peck and
when in 1876 the store was burned the firm was Fish & Peck.
Then it was that Dr. Fish
directed his entire attention to the practice of his profession although he had a
partnership interest in the drug business to the time of his death, August 9, 1901. In
1887 he organized the firm of Colvin, Fish & Moore, which located where Lyttle &
Turpenning are now. In 1896 the firm of Fish & Dusenberry was formed in the store now
occupied by Fish & Waldorf. Dr. Fish and J. R. Waldorf became partners in May, 1900, and
continued together until the doctor died, after which the estate has continued its
interest in the business represented in the store by Dr. Fish's eldest daughter, Miss
Fannie L. Fish, who is an educated pharmacist.
After the fire on Mill street, at the time
the doctor began active practice, he resumed his medical studies and took a post-graduate
course at Bellevue college, New York city, where he matriculated Oct. 2, 1878. A few years
later, in 1884, he took a three months' course in a London hospital.
Dr. Fish on September
25, 1873, married Sarah Rogers of Marion. Their daughters are Fannie L., Annie R., (Mrs.
Charles Hawley) of Red Creek and Bessie A. Fish. The son is Arthur L. Fish.
Reminiscences of Lawson Matthews who Describes the Visit to Wolcott of a Party of
Canadian Raiders; Bear and Deer Shooting; Obadiah Adams, and School Children: -
"My father, Jesse Matthews, came from New Hartford, Ct., in 1809 and built a log house
south of my present home. The frame house where the log house was built was erected in
1832. Lucius Hubbard, my wife's father, Abijah Moore and others came with him. The next
year they brought their families," said Lawson Matthews, who was born in that log house in
1822 and is now 83 years old and in very poor health.
"I can remember," continued he, "the
log road - logs laid side by side to keep teams from miring in the swamp - that led
through New Hartford street into the village. I can recollect attending school in the red
school house (now the site of the engine house) when about 6 years old, and up to the time
I was 13. I remember Obadiah Adams who was keeping the hotel across the street. One day
when the scholars were coming out at noon he stood in the street across the road with a
basket. 'Pig! Pig! Pig!' he called out, and then showed the children his basket full of
the big, juicy, English cherries. Knowing what it meant they ran across the road like a
flock of frightened sheep and the half bushel of cherries, after a lot of scrambling and
clawing by the children, was quickly distributed among them.
MENAGERIES IN HOTEL BARN.
"In the barn back of the hotel I have seen monkeys and bears placed on exhibition, the
public being charged for admission. John Grandy once secured two live fawns up near the
lake which were kept in an enclosure back of the hotel - I don't know how long. Their
capture was easy on account of the deep snow. It was common in those days to see deer run
through the fields or across the road hereabouts. I have seen eight or ten in a string.
Horton Moore shot the last deer I recall having seen about here. His dogs chased it
through the village, and the deer took to the mill pond.
BEAR AND FOX SHOOTING.
"One named Hancock shot a bear near Furnace village [a mile north of Wolcott village].
I have known bears to come out of the woods in this part of the town and lug off a hog
weighing over a hundred pounds. Bears were by no means scarce. And there was plenty of
other game. Nelson Moore and his brother shot 50 black squirrel in two hours in the swamp
below our meadow. Foxes, too, were in great plenty. Borden Booth could tell many fox
stories for he caught quite a number.
PLOWING SNOW WITH OXEN.
"Early roads were hard to get over in the winter with the snow that we have. I have
in mind starting from Wolcott to break roads and before getting to Whiskey Hill, three
miles, having eight or ten yoke of oxen attached to the plow. Our daddies in those days
used oxen to break land and do all their farm work. Mine bought 150 acres of the Pultney
estate paying $6 an acre. There was a good deal of swamp and woods, and black snakes were
numerous. Many black snakes have been caught at the falls [in the village]. Father was
supervisor in 1816 and was justice of the peace a long time. He died in 1822. Mother
lived to be 93 years old. I still keep the old account book which my father then used.
"I remember the iron ore bed over near Red Creek where teams loaded up and brought the iron
over to the blast furnace. Twenty feet of dirt was taken off to uncover the bed which
proved to be 2 1/2 feet thick.
"George Arne built the Ladue house and his brother built the plank road. Hamilton put up the toll gate.
CANADIAN RAIDERS AT WOLCOTT.
"The island in the creek above the falls is in my mind connected with the scene of the
encampment of a party of men on their way to raid Canada. I think I was fourteen years
old, which would make the year when the raiders came to Wolcott, 1836. My memory is
impressed with the incident. I can see them marching into the village welcomed here by
the firing of a cannon in the street. My brother, Augustus, and Daniel Reed loaded the
gun and Crippen touched it off. The gun busted. A splinter hurt Crippen's legs. The
windows in Tompkins' store (now the Wells market) were broken. I stood near a woodpile
next the Baptist church, in which a piece of the cannon struck. The raiders marched over
to the island and encamped there. I don't remember how long they staid. I think it was
more than a day. They were on their way from Niagara Falls and were going to capture
Canada. Two years after that two other cannon that were being fired on the island
Reminiscences; The Box Pews in the Old Presbyterian Church; Early Land Owners: -
Among the well known of the early Presbyterian families was that of William Dutton. Mrs.
Dutton, eighty-four years old last January, lives in the house built by Osgood Church with
the family of her daughter, Mrs. Hovey. They bought the place of Benjamin Underhill and
moved there in the spring of 1851. "At that time between here and the village," said Mrs.
Dutton, "there was only one house before reaching Dr. Watkins' present residence, the old
Butterfield home. From Mrs. F. S. Johnston's house to the railroad, north of Main street,
was an orchard belonging to M. P. Foote.
"We raised principally barley and took it to
Clyde and traded in Wolcott at Underhill's, afterwards Smith's, where W. D. Campbell's
store is now.
"I remember the old box pews in the old Presbyterian church with doors to
them. Mrs. Elisha Leavenworth was a singer in the church. I recall Jedediah Wilder with
his family gathered around their square lunch basket at church. We then carried lunches
and attended two services.
"When we took this place Jedediah Wilder's farm joined us on
the west and included the present Alfred Markel farm. Mr. Paddock had the farm across the
road from us, now belonging to the Russell estate, and lived in the old house standing
down in the orchard. On the east of us was Mr. Guile's farm and to the north-west Deacon
Reminiscences; The Village in 1840; Two Stores, a Shop or Two and a Swamp in Main
Street Described; Incidents on the Removal of Old Burial Grounds: -
"There were only two
stores on the north side of Main street when I first came to Wolcott. Mr. Foote had one
near the corner at this end of the street [Mill street corner] and Underhill had the other
up next to where Roe's bank is now. There was a little bit of a building next to Foote's
store used for a tin shop. I don't remember who had it. Above that was another small
building, Ruth Smith's millinery store. The rest was open space and a board walk ran
along there. Across the street from Underhill's was the hotel and below that were one or
two buildings in which there was a hat and cap and another shop or two. All but the
Gilbert building and that next to it in this picture [looking over the view on page 5]
were built after I came here."
The speaker was Mrs. Loduskey Simpson who will be
seventy-nine years old in August, 1905, and who came to Wolcott when 14 years old - in
1841. She is smart and speaks as though her recollection is clear.
THE SWAMP IN MAIN STREET.
"My father, Lamson Burch," she continued, "was a carpenter and Dr. Arne got him to
come here to do some work for him. Pa built a barn on the street below here [Jefferson]
which was said to be the best barn in town. We first lived on the Port Bay road, and
afterwards moved into the village. I went to school across from the hotel. Just beyond
the school house the street was crossed by a drain. Where the churches are now, and where
Bert Thacker and Mr. Northup live, was a swamp and it was drained across the street back
of the hotel [New Harford street] into the stream below in the gulf. This swamp was
sometimes so wet that when we went up Main street we got over by walking on a rail fence.
Along where those nice houses and lawns are, on Main street, was a rail fence on each side
of the road. The swamp ran through to the spring on Lake avenue. All of the fine lawns
at Mr. Thacker's and Mr. Northup's and on Lake avenue was then a swamp grown with willows
and other kinds of swamp timber and berry bushes.
THE OLD APPLE ORCHARDS.
"Back of this swamp extending from back of the spring over toward the railroad was a
large orchard. Right here, across the street what is now Mr. Grave's house, was a
dwelling that stood in the midst of another orchard and this orchard ran along the south
side of Main street down to the gulf. They cut down some of this orchard when they built
the second Presbyterian church [second structure, near the arcade]. We used to have
Sunday school picnics in that orchard back of the church.
DR. ARNE'S BARNS.
"I remember the old house on the hill which they called the Black House where Dr. Arne
lived. His barns were across the street next to the Presbyterian church, where Dr.
Watkins lives. Dr. Arne was always having work done on his barns. Dr. Draper bought that
place and tore down the church and built his house.
"On Lake avenue when we came here Dr.
Johnson lived where Mrs. Creque does now. Just beyond was an old house and there was no
other house on Lake avenue until you reached the spring. I don't remember who lived there
but B. A. Merrill lived across the street.
JOHN GRANDY'S DISCOVERY.
"The first person buried in the old cemetery was Mr. Ladue's mother. My father was
the second. I have heard tell of the removal of the bodies from the cemetery up here back
of the old Methodist church [on East Main street]. John Grandy took them up and they were
buried back of the hotel, where they started a cemetery, where Winchell's house and barn
are now. I have heard John Grandy tell that he took up an infant's coffin which was so
light he went home and got the screw driver and opened it; and he found it empty. The
parents of the infant supposed to have been in the coffin moved to Rochester. Grandy said
he never had the heart to tell them.
MILKED SITTING ON GRAVESTONE.
"Mrs. Burgdorff lived where James Shaw now lives. His cow shed covered one corner of
the old cemetery and inside of the shed were two small graves. I have sat on the foot
stones in the shed. Mr. Burgdorff said he sat on one of the stones when he did his
milking. Two of the graves had caved in and Mr. Dill filled them up with stone. "There
used to be a log house up on Main street and a child died there. Its father took its body
on horseback to the Butler cemetery through the woods. The woods were so thick then
around here that parties went ahead and blazed his way on the trees. That was years
before we came here.
DEACON OLMSTEAD SURPRISED.
"I remember the explosion of cannon on one Fourth of July. The Baptists were having
some kind of a meeting in the church. A piece of cannon came down through the roof and
struck on the floor at the feet of Deacon Olmstread. He was so mad he got up and went out
pretty quickly, I tell you! I guess he was surprised.
"The Presbyterian meeting house was
then being built and was enclosed. The ladies had it decorated with evergreens and were
serving a supper to raise money when the cannon exploded down there and a piece of it
drove the pump down in the well."
Thacker Bro's & Co., as a firm under that name, was organized with W. H. Thacker, A.
B. Thacker and E. A. Wadsworth as its members in 1888. W. H. Thacker died in 1898 but
there has since been no change in the firm or its business, the W. H. Thacker estate
continuing to hold his interests there.
The business was begun by A. B. Thacker and J. S.
Terrill in 1873 and when Mr. Terrill retired Mr. A. B. Thacker maintained the business as
it was started until he had interested others in it; and he is really the founder of it.
Since then, through a few changes only, the business has steadily grown, extending its
benign influence over that wide extent of country out of which the merchants of Wolcott
naturally draw trade.
When in 1888 Mr. Wadsorth, who had been a clerk for Thacker Bros.
nine years and had grown up with the business, became partner and took up the more active
part of the management of the business, new ideas for attracting trade were promulgated, a
wider range of dealings adopted and the stimulation of trade became apparent, both in the
growth of patronage and the expansion of business.
When the firm ten years ago settled
into its present quarters, "The Steel Front Store," an entire building erected expressly
for them, the people of Wolcott found they had got among them a department store conducted
on the scale of a real department business in a large way.
In point of floor space or
quantity and character of goods, or from any other point of view, there is no firm in
Wayne county outside of Lyons and Newark comparable with this one. Its business is
carried on as that of a city store, and in a general sense it offers equal advantages with
the best store in Lyons and Newark.
It comprises the four main departments of a large
general retail mercantile establishment: the dry goods; that of carpets, rugs and
curtains; boots and shoes; and the staple grocery and crockery lines.
The concern occupies
two floors and basements of double stores, taking the main floors for dry goods and boots
and shoes, and upper floors for the curtains, carpets, matting, draperies, cloaks and
suits; and the basements for groceries, wall paper, crockery, lamps and china, guns,
ammunition and sportsmen's goods.
The history of the business is the history of A. B.
Thacker. The firm of Terrill & Thacker were together about two years, located in the
Palmer block, then Mr. Terrill withdrew. While for a short time Mr. Thacker was looking
about for a partner, fire swept out the south side of the street - in 1875 - burning out
the firm of Thacker & Johnston, who were then conducting a grocery opposite Terrill &
Thacker. W. H. Thacker and T. W. Johnson, brother and brother-in-law of A. B. Thacker,
came into the business with him shortly after their fire, and for four or five years the
firm was Thacker, Johnson & Co. On account of failing health Mr. Johnson then withdrew
going into the west in search of rest and cure. This was followed by Thacker Bro's moving
into the Whitford block.
In 1888 E. A. Wadsworth, Mr. A. B. Thacker's son-in-law, became a
partner and the name of the firm since then has been Thacker Bro's & Co. It had now
become apparent that a large store was needed and so a lease was entered into with G. H.
Northup and F. S. Johnson for a new building which they were to build and to plan to suit
the firm. It is a large double store, long and broad, with a front of steel and is
specially designed for the department business of this firm. Thacker Bros. & Co. opened
in the new block in 1895 and since that time the impulse of its trade has carried the firm
along with vigorous strides. The death of W. H. Thacker, in 1898, left E. A. Wadsworth
with practically the management of the business in his own hands. Mr. Wadsworth was born
April 13, 1863, in the town of Savannah and was educated at Leavenworth Institute. At the
age of seventeen years he went to work for Thacker Bros. & Co. Mr. Wadsworth is one of
the organizers of the Wadsworth Band. He married Mary C., the daughter of A. B. Thacker,
April 14, 1887, and they have two daughters, Marguerite and Mildred. Mr. Wadsworth is
active in public matters and a lover of out-of-doors sports, particularly with the gun,
being the promoter of the Catchpole Gun Club of Wolcott and the man upon whom personally
large depends the success of the annual shoots by state marksmen held at Wolcott. He is a
member of the Masonic order.
A. B. Thacker, the founder of the business has lived in the
town of Wolcott sixty-five years and nearly half of that time in this village. His had
been a sturdy, active and productive career, overflowing with hours of labor, and to his
excellent memory is due much of the valuable information published in this work. He was
born Nov. 20, 1835, in Fayette, Seneca county, N. Y., where his parents coming from Cayuga
county a year or two previous, resided until 1840, when they came to Wolcott and settled
on the old Hunter farm north of the village. William Schuyler Thacker, his father, was
both a horticulturist and agriculturist. He died on what is now the A. J. Dewitt farm
which he had bought a few years previous. Mrs. T. W. Johnson and Mrs. John L. Phillips,
his daughters, reside at Wolcott. A. B. Thacker on May 9, 1860, married Margaret, the
daughter of H. F. McIntyre who in the early 30's was a carpenter and builder in Wolcott.
Mrs. Thacker is prominent in social and Grange circles. Their children are W. H. Thacker,
on the farm; Luella A. (Mrs. Dr. E. P. Thatcher) of Newark; Mary C. (Mrs. E. A.
Wadsworth) and Emma A., deceased, (Mrs. Hulbert) of Syracue. A. B. Thacker, who for
twelve years following his marriage was wholly devoted to farming, spends much of his time
now in farming and fruit raising, dividing his hours of work, when not in the store,
between his large grounds in the village and his farm.
William Henry Thacker was born in
Owasco, Cayuga Co., N. Y., June 26, 1833, the son of Wm. Schuyler Thacker. On September
2, 1855, he married Augusta M., the only daughter of Isaac Rice of Wolcott who lived on
what is now the Wise homestead. W. H. Thacker bought the place soon after he married and
carried on farming there until after the war. Then he and his brother-in-law, T. W.
Johnson, bought the Creque farm, in 1866. And afterwards went into business together in
Wolcott, opening a grocery on the south side of Main street where a short time after they
were burned out; and after that forming the co-partnership already spoken of. The
beautiful home of his widow, W. H. Thacker built the year he came to the village. He as a
prominent supporter of the Presbyterian church society of Wolcott, an elder and trustee,
and zealous worker in the church. He was the superintendent of the Sunday school at the
time of his death, Aug. 26, 1898. For twenty-five years he was on the village Board of
Education. He was a man of lofty character, Christian precepts and high purposes. He had
no children of his own, but an adopted daughter. Mrs. Thacker is a busy woman, giving
much of her time to ladies' work in the village.
Height of Water Sheds of New York above tide. - Hudson river and Ramapo at Moncey,
Westchester Co., 557 ft; Hudson and Delaware rivers at Otisville, Orange Co., 900 ft;
Hudson and Neversink rivers at Wawarsing, Ulster Co., 850 ft; Hudson river and Lake
Ontario at Rome, Oneida Co., 427 ft; Hudson river and Lake Erie at Tonawanda, Erie Co.,
557 ft; Delaware and Susquehanna rivers at Deposit Summit, Broome Co., 1,373 ft;
Susquehanna and Mohawk rivers at Bouckville, Madison Co., 1,127 ft; Susquehanna river and
Oneida lake at Tully, Onondaga Co., 1,247 ft; Susquehanna river and Cayuga lake at Ithaca
Summit, Tompkins Co, 960 ft; Susquehanna river and Seneca lake at Horseheads, Chemung Co.,
884 ft; Susquehanna and Genesee rivers at Alfred Summit, Alleghany Co., 1,780 ft; Genesee
and Alleghany rivers at Cuba, Alleghany Co., 1,699 ft; Alleghany river and Lake Erie at
Little Valley Summit, Cattaraugus Co., 1,614 ft; Mohawk river and Lake Ontario at Kasoag,
Oneida Co., 536 ft; Mohawk and Black rivers at Boonville, Oneida Co., 1,120 ft; Lake
Champlain and St. Lawrence river at Chateaugay Summit, Franklin Co., 1,050 ft.
Pg 38 - Dr. T. S. FISH.
LAKE AVENUE, LOOKING NORTH (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 39 LEAVENWORTH BASE BALL TEAM. (Smith, Photo.)
Standing (at right) - R. B.
Gurley, manager; (at left) - Arthur L. Fish, assistant manager. Top Row (left to right) -
Edwin Pitts, r. f.: Willis Rathbun, 2 b.; G. Porter Brockway, 3 b.; Roy Cahoon, sub.
Lower Row - Marion Beach, 1 b.; Leon Hibbard, s.s.; Wm Lynch, l. f.; Edgar H. Thomas, p.
and captain; Earll W. Brown, c.; Bordner Newberry, c. f. Mascott - Asel Foster.
Pg 39 - WOLCOTT HOUSE CO. (Smith, Photo.)
Lower Row: -- Willie Olmstead, John
Waldorf, E. B. Dowd, George Reed, Fred Bevier, George Roe, Prof. R. B. Gurley, R. H.
Kelley. Upper Row: -- Charles Pitts, W. Mabie, C. Trickler, H. Douglass, John
Fitzsimmons, John Creque, Charles Wright, H. W. Day; A. Jouran, Fred King, Charles Graves.
Pg 40 - BROTHERHOOD OF ST. PAUL; M. E. CHURCH (Smith, Photo.)
Lower Row (left to
right): -- Elihu Rogers, Willis Rathbun, Earll Brown, Leon Hibbard, Frank Loveless.
Second Row: -- Delmar Bennett, Charles Rice, Clarence Johnson, Rev. J. L. Gillard, C. J.
Armstrong, Wm. Church. Upper Row: -- W U. Jenkins, H. W. Day, W. R. Paddock, H. L.
Rumsay, Charles Walker, I. L. Sherwood, Wm. Clapper.
Pg 42 - W. H. THACKER. E. A. WADSWORTH. A. B. THACKER.
Pg 42 - THACKER BROS. & CO, DEPARTMENT STORE (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 43 - THACKER BROS. & CO - DRY GOODS DEPT. (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 43 - THACKER BROS. & CO. - BOOT AND SHOE DEPT. (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 44 - MRS. W. H. THACKER'S RESIDENCE (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 44 - A. B. THACKER'S RESIDENCE. (Borrowed Photo.)
Pg 45 - E. A. WADSWORTH'S RESIDENCE. (Smith, Photo.)
Pg 45 - CATCHPOLE GUN CLUB - ANNUAL SHOOT AT WOLCOTT, MAY 24-'5, 1905. (Smith, Photo.)
Typed by Sandi Jagger Gauthier of Falls Church, VA.
"The main town my ancestors came from was Palmyra -
and E. Palmyra. Surnames in my line from Wayne County are Jagger, Culver, Reeves, Andrew, Williams, Terry, Cronise,
Beale, Harrison, Clark, Plimpton. Many of my Wayne County relatives were part of the early migration of folks from
Southampton, Long Island, NY in the early 1790's."
For information about individuals, businesses and organizations mentioned on this page, please direct all inquiries to the Office of the County Historian.
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